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Oscar-nominated screenwriter, Frank Galati dies at 79

Jan 3, 2023

Frank Galati, the Tony Award-winning director, writer, and actor who helped transform Chicago theater, has died at the age of 79.

 

His passing was announced by his husband Peter Amster but the cause of death was not shared, according to The Chicago Tribune. 

 

The Hollywood veteran had success in 1988 when he adapted the book The Accidental Tourist for the screen with William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Geena Davis starring. The Chicago native was nominated for an Academy Award for his efforts.

 

But Galati was best known for his work on Broadway as he won a Tony Award in 1990 for his stage adaptation of Grapes Of Wrath starring actor Gary Sinise. 

 

He was also Tony-nominated for best director for “Ragtime” in 1998 and was nominated for an Academy Award with Lawrence Kasdan for best screenplay for “The Accidental Tourist” in 1989.

 

His long list of works in Chicago also included productions of “The Drawer Boy,” in which he starred opposite John Mahoney in 2001, and “The Tempest,” a 2009 production in which Mr. Galati delivered an unforgettable performance as Prospero, the world-premiere stage adaptation of “Kafka on the Shore,” “East of Eden” and Haruki Murakami’s “after the quake” at Steppenwolf as well as “The Winter’s Tale,” “The Visit” and “Cry, the Beloved Country” at the Goodman.

 

In a joint statement, Steppenwolf’s co-artistic directors Glenn Davis and Audrey Francis paid tribute to Mr. Galati: “Frank had a profound impact on Steppenwolf, and all of us, over the years. For some, he was a teacher, mentor, director, adaptor, writer, fellow actor, and visionary. Regardless of the relationship, Frank always made others feel cared for, valued, and inspired in his ever-generous, joyful, and compassionate presence.”

 

Mr. Galati was also known for his work in opera, directing productions of “La Traviata” and “Tosca” at Lyric Opera of Chicago and “A View from the Bridge” at both the Lyric and The Metropolitan Opera in New York.

 

Frank Joseph Galati Jr. was born on Nov. 29, 1943, in Highland Park. He graduated from Glenbrook High School in 1961 and went on to attend Western Illinois University and Northwestern University, where he got his master’s degree and a doctorate in speech.